The Past, Present and Future of Recruitment: How the Industry Grew and How it Will Change

31st October 2014
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With the changing pace of society, namely the advancements in technology and business, the way in which companies recruit has changed dramatically. With so many changes taking place on a daily basis, it can be hard to keep up with the new techniques and methods of finding top staff. Here, we take a look at the past, present and future of recruiting to see what can be learned and adapted in order to be most effective in our transient environment.

The Past
The history of business recruiting can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, although the UK first saw the industry blossom during and after the Second World War. During the conflict, businesses found themselves struggling to stay afloat as multiple generations of workers were called into the army; this created a need to find employees quickly and efficiently, not just through word of mouth, but through a dedicated industry. Following the war, the influx of returning soldiers meant that thousands were looking for work and had often learned new skills during their time in the army, some of which became applicable to the changing technology industry at the time.

The shift then changed from finding work for a candidate into finding candidates for a company, and the idea of business recruiting was formed. As the decades continued, recruiters and headhunters had to adapt their methods to suit a changing society containing never-before-seen industries. The internet boom of the 90s required recruiters to find legions of staff to meet the demands of new businesses with endless financial capabilities.

From a methodical point of view, traditional recruiting from days gone by required a paper trail that could reach to the stars. The demands on recruiters involved sifting through endless CVs, sending letters of confirmation and waiting weeks until something came back, often leaving businesses lacking in top staff, or hiring those not best suited due to time constraints presented. With the invention of email and web-based recruiting, the way in which both candidates and companies viewed recruitment changed into what we now see today.

The Present
Now, the rise of the online recruitment agency has meant that businesses no longer have to pay exorbitant fees to agencies without seeing return on their investment, nor do they need to change their budget to include in-house recruiting. Many recruiters also combine their knowledge with new internet technology, making social recruiting the buzzterm of the moment. Recruiters such as Opus Recruitment Solutions, a specialist recruiter for the IT industry, has invested heavily in professional network LinkedIn in order to find top talent, by building their brand’s online presence and attracting passive candidates who may or may not be actively searching for a job or thinking of changing careers.

Modern social recruiting does not stop with professional networks either; social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have also seen a massive influx of both job seekers and recruiters, using the immediacy of social technology to reach a much larger number of potential candidiates by engaging them with the brand. Moreover, there are people creating new recruitment companies to combat problems that have recently arisen, such as graduate recruitment site Evergrad. Evergrad works as a professional platform which matches recent graduates to SMEs offering a complete small business recruitment solution.

The Future
With recruitment changing regularly to suit the needs of the working society, it is no surprise that the future of recruitment is an evanescent medium which will grow and adapt to suit the nature of the society it works within. With start ups having more of a presence in the world of commerce, the need to recruit for these initially small businesses has prompted a change in opinion of how to attract the calibre of staff they need. One of these methods is offering perks to new employees and even bigger perks to retain existing employees. It is common knowledge that megapowers such as Apple and Google are renowned for their sometimes crazy perks (including sleeping pods at Google and the option for women to freeze their eggs in order to have longer careers at Apple), but now the smaller start ups are taking heed and offering excellent benefits to attract staff rather than spend earmarked money on outreach recruiting.

However, the start up surge has also prompted the creation of industry-specific recruitment agencies whose primary goal is to serve these start up companies early on, aware that the initial slow burn of cash will eventually grow into a more profitable company later on. Companies such as HireArt, a start up recruiter for start up businesses, offer perks of their own such as offereing free services to companies with less than $2million in capital, something they could not do if they themselves did not have capital behind them.

It appears as though the future of recruitment lies squarely in the knowledge of changing technological trends and the adaptation of business models to suit the society in which we live. With new technology comes new job titles, and with that comes new ways of searching for and sourcing workers, often reaching them in entirely new ways. Recruitment has been a changing industry since its early beginnings and, due to the adaptability of the people they work with, the industry itself will continue to grow, change and excel.

"Apple and Google are renowned for their sometimes crazy perks (including sleeping pods at Google and the option for women to freeze their eggs in order to have longer careers at Apple), but now the smaller start ups are taking heed and offering excellent benefits to attract staff rather than spend earmarked money on outreach recruiting"